Jerusalem, oh Jerusalem!
Yesterday we entered Jerusalem for the very first time. It was an emotional experience for my wife, Candy, and I. A place that I have heard about, taught about, and seen on the television was now right in front of us!
This morning, I was able to teach on the Mount of Olives as this was a place visited often by Jesus. I spoke from Luke 19:28-44 and Zechariah 14:4-5 as the enclosed eastern gate of the temple wall stared back at us.
Many, many years ago Muslims sealed this gate and then began using the area outside the gate as a cemetery. This was their attempt to block the prophecy of the Messiah making a triumphal entrance through this gate. “How absurd!” I thought. Do they really think this will stop the King of Kings and Lord of Lords from fulfilling prophesy?
Right next door to us was the Garden of Gethsemane. What a beautiful and peaceful place. We heard birds chirping in the distance as the sun shone down us on this crisp but clear day. This was the place where Jesus was betrayed by Judas and arrested.
We crossed the Kidron valley in front of us and arrived at the palace of Caiaphas, the High Priest at the time of Jesus. Archeology has discovered a number of cells and one main dungeon beneath his house. This was where Jesus was taken and beaten following his arrest. You can still see an ancient Roman-made path comes from the Mount of Olives and takes you
right up to this palace. How amazing it was to see the same path Jesus walked on in His journey to the cross! This is also the place Peter and John were taken when they were arrested for teaching the name of Jesus. It is incredible to see, first hand, the places I have preached about for so many years!
After lunch, we traveled to the Old City, the City of David. There are places where the city walls are still intact – dating back to the reign of King David. I then took the long stairways down to the ancient water tunnels that King Hezekiah built in preparation of a coming Babylonian siege. The tunnels were dug from solid rock and brought water to Jerusalem from the Gihon spring underneath the city. The 1/2 mile tunnel was dark, narrow, and often very low – causing me to bend over in order to avoid hitting my head on the ceiling. The water was not as cold as I expected and came knee level. Quite the adventure!
Tomorrow is our last day in Israel. We will spend our entire day inside the ancient city walls of Jerusalem. We will visit the place where Pilate examined Jesus, the Via Dolorosa, and the empty tomb! What a way to end our trip to Israel!